“La frontière entre moteurs de recherche et réseaux sociaux va totalement s’effacer”, prédit François Sutter, directeur conseil à l’agence Modedemploi, plantant directement en préambule, le décor de la conférence “Le search sera social ou ne sera pas“, qui s’est tenue lors de ce SMX Paris 2012.
Son argumentation s’appuie sur un constat : depuis quelques temps, il suffit que Facebook, Bing ou Google ait une initiative mêlant réseaux sociaux et SERP pour que son concurrent lui emboite le pas peu après. Et la cadence s’est accélérée. C’est particulièrement frappant depuis un an, avec l’arrivée de Google+, quelques jours après l’intégration plus poussée de Facebook dans Bing et quelques mois avant le Search Plus Your World de Google. De quoi inquiéter certains référenceurs, sceptiques sur la pertinence de la personnalisation des résultats (voir notre dossierSEO : personnalisation des résultats, Graal ou enfer ?).
“Nous avons noué des partenariats avec des réseaux sociaux plutôt que de créer le nôtre que nous aurions ensuite favorisé dans nos résultats de recherche”, a indiqué de son côté Bernard Lukey, le directeur général Europe du moteur russe Yandex. Une stratégie qui diffère donc notamment de celle adoptée par Google, qui référence particulièrement bien son réseau social, et même de la stratégie de Microsoft, actionnaire de Facebook, qui est aussi privilégié dans Bing.
De droite à gauche : Bernard Lukey, directeur général de Yandex Europe, Fedor Romanenko, responsable qualité recherche du moteur russe, et François Sutter, directeur conseil chez Modedemploi. © JDN
Ces stratégies permettent à Bing de mieux indexer et valoriser des contenus populaires sur les réseaux sociaux. Certaines actualitésbrûlantes bénéficient en effet d’un écho plus important que d’autres sur les réseaux sociaux, ce qui envoie un signal que les miteurs doivent désormais prendre en compte.
|Le “Social Search” rencontre vite ses limites.|
Mais le “Social Search” rencontre vite ses limites : il y a de nombreux thèmes qui ne sont pas du tout abordés sur les réseaux sociaux, ou pour lesquels ces réseaux ne sont d’aucune utilité… Mais cela ne veut pas dire pour autant qu’ils ne doivent pas apparaître dans lesSERP“, rappelle Fedor Romanenko, responsable de la qualité chez Yandex.
Ce dernier reconnaît que les internautes peuvent apprécier de voir les avis de leurs amis influencer les résultats d’une requête concernant des restaurants ou des loisirs, mais ils peuvent aussi être déçus sur d’autres thèmes. Tous les sujets ne se prêtent pas à la personnalisation des résultats par les réseaux sociaux, comme l’expliquait également récemment au JDN un haut responsable de Bing.
Mais, même si les moteurs semblent avoir conscience des limites du “Social Search”, leur intérêt pour les réseaux sociaux ne montre aujourd’hui encore aucun signe d’essoufflement, en témoigne entre autres le lancement du réseau social de Microsoft, So.cl.
Since this is a knowledge graph (“Web” might be a better word), the results are designed to help you dig more deeply into related topics. Google showed us how someone might start by searching for a local amusement park, find an interesting rollercoaster as one of the “things” that relates to the park and end up digging in on details about that coaster and other similar rides. It’s a “skeleton of knowledge that allows you to explore information on the web,” said Gomes.
Analyst firm BIA/Kelsey has projected that by 2015 there will be more local searches coming from smartphones than PCs in the US. It’s a bold prediction and one that has logical merit: smartphone search volumes are growing faster than search on the PC. While local search is at least 20 percent of total queries on the PC (per Google) it’s at least 40 percent of smartphone queries, also according to Google.
Mobile vs. PC Local Search Volumes (BIA/Kelsey Forecast)
Source: BIA/Kelsey (2012)
In some categories such as restaurants and travel, mobile searches represent 15 – 20 percent or more of overall query volumes. There can be no dispute that mobile search is now a huge phenomenon. But will it eclipse PC local search query volume in three years?
Let’s think out loud a bit, shall we?
Using the Google 20 percent figure as a guide we can estimate that in March there were approximately 3.7 billion local searches on the PC in the US. In the absence of significant month over month growth that would translate into roughly 44 billion annual local queries coming through US search engines on the PC. But let’s assume modest local query growth and say there will be something on the order of 50 billion local queries on search engines in the US in 2012. (The number could be higher of course.)
Now, how many local-mobile search queries are there?
Answering that question depends on whether we include app-based local search (e.g., Yelp, Foursquare, yellow pages apps, Urbanspoon, etc.). Data from comScore, Localeze and 15 Miles finds that half of US mobile consumers (survey respondents) say they use apps at least some of the time for local search. However, we don’t know the frequency or the volume of in-app search because no one is really tracking those numbers today.
Let’s limit the definition of “mobile search” to browser based search through one of the major US search engines. However right now Google represents about 95 percent of the total “mobile search” market in the US.
If there are roughly 125 million smartphone owners in the US (50 percent of 250 million mobile subscribers) and a large number of smartphone owners do an average 20 mobile searches per month, then there are something like 30 billion mobile searches annually right now in the US. (Let’s leave out tablets of this discussion.) If 40 percent of that overall mobile search volume is local, that would mean roughly 12 billion annual local searches on mobile devices. (This number may be slightly inflated today.)
We can assume growth in smartphone penetration and some growth in per-person mobile search query volume — though this assumption is a wild card for several reasons. It also may be a bit risky to assume that the percentage of overall mobile search that is local will continue to climb significantly, though it could reach 50 percent (which is what Microsoft says it is today on Bing).
Let’s assume smartphone penetration reaches 75 percent (say 187 million people) and each person does 40 mobile searches per month (doubling our per-person monthly query assumption). That translates into 90 billion annual mobile queries. If the local percentage of mobile search volume grows to 50 percent, we’d have 45 billion annual local-mobile search queries.
That event would get us pretty close to PC-mobile local search parity, if there weren’t dramatic PC local search growth. However a number of factual assumptions must come to pass. And the future is not guaranteed to look like the past.
The proliferation of mobile apps (whether native or HTML5) combined with the rise of Siri and other voice assistants could mean that browser-based mobile search doesn’t grow much over time. Google has cited figures of 130 percent year over year mobile search growth. But there are reasons to believe that the current PC search model on the smartphone small screen will be supplanted, at least to some degree in the relatively near future.
More than a couple of years out it all starts to get very speculative, since mobile is evolving so rapidly. However, regardless of whether the BIA forecast comes true in three years — I don’t think it can without including in-app search volumes — it’s certainly directionally accurate. And one day in the relatively near future it’s clear that people will be using mobile devices to find local information as much or more than their laptops and desktop PCs.
Search and social media are becoming more interconnected, particularly as Google works to integrate social media content into its search results.
In January 2012, Google announced that, as of March 1, 2012, search results on Google.com will incorporate content from users’ Google+ social network, highlighting links, photos and comments from Google+ within search results. This has led to some concern from users, particularly about privacy.
AYTM Market Research asked US internet users if they liked the idea of personalized search results. Of respondents, 15.5% said yes, they would like personalized search results, while 39.1% said yes, but that they were also concerned with privacy. Additionally, 45.4% said they would prefer everyone to see the same search results.
RKG, a search marketing company, found in its “Digital Marketing Report Q4 2011” that 83.5% of the organic search traffic of companies worldwide was through Google. While Google is by far the most popular search engine, another concern with Google’s search-and-social plan is that Google+ may not fully represent consumers’ social media lives.
According to AYTM, only 19.3% of respondents actively use Google+, while an additional 20.3% have an account but do not use it. Nearly one-fifth of respondents (19.5%) reported that they don’t know what Google+ is.
Twitter, in particular, took offense to Google’s plan to integrate Google+ content into search results, while not including that of Twitter and Facebook. Twitter and Google previously had a relationship where Twitter content showed up in Google’s real-time search results, but the two companies were unable to come to an agreement to continue the partnership in July 2011.
In a statement, Twitter said, “As we’ve seen time and time again, news breaks first on Twitter; as a result, Twitter accounts and Tweets are often the most relevant results [for world events and breaking news]. We’re concerned that as a result of Google’s changes, finding this information will be much harder for everyone.”
Google faces an uphill battle as it works to connect its social content to search results, including determining how users prefer to connect the two. No matter what happens with Google+, though, marketers must find a balance with search and social media marketing, as the two are becoming more connected every day.
In a multichannel environment, brands and marketers need to think carefully about how customers will respond to offline advertising.
If people see a product or service they like, will they open up their laptops and type the URL used on the ad into a search engine? Will they search for the brand online instead? Or will they use the smartphone in their pocket?
For example, if I see an advert for a car and type the make and model into Google, I want to see a landing page that matches my expectations; providing details of the car, some nice photos and videos, and a link to find my local dealer, or book a test drive.
Whether this was the aim of the ad or not, TV campaigns will drive spikes in search activity online.
According to a recent study by Efficient Frontier, TV ads can drive an 80% rise in branded search.
In the study, searches during an eight-week TV ad campaign will typically jump between 60 to 80% on the brand name, and between 40 and 60% on generic terms related to the brand.
Online offers an immediate response mechanism for viewers of TV ads. It allows brands an opportunity to capitalise instantly of the effect of the ad.
If a customer has seen a pair of shoes they like on an M&S ad for instance, they can head online and purchase it within minutes.
If it’s a car insurance advert, customers can open their laptops and start the quotation process straight away.
Even when the product or service cannot be purchased online, then the internet offers a way to capture customer details, for people to book an appointment or a test drive within minutes of the ad.
People are increasingly using different kinds of media while they are watching TV. With laptops, smartphones and tablet computers like the iPad, many viewers are likely to have the internet at their fingertips while watching TV.
For example, a recent IAB study found that 49% of mobile internet users will often watch TV while browsing on their phones.
This offers an excellent opportunity for marketers to get viewers to respond to TV ads by going online.
Place a URL in the ad
An obvious way to do it – the URL both indicates that a brand is online, and directs the viewer exactly where they need to go, though how many users type the exact web address into their browsers is questionable.
This is becoming common practice in the majority of TV and print advertising. A recent survey by Nominet found that 65% of all UK print and television advertising now includes a web address.
There is a disparity between print and TV though; 83% of print ads now feature a URL compared with just 61% of TV ads, a missed opportunity, especially when you consider the higher costs of TV advertising.
A URL in an ad gives customers a response mechanism and, if they type in the correct web address, they’ll go to a dedicated landing page.
Unique URLs also provide a mechanism for marketers to track response to offline advertising.
However, URLs need to be memorable, and not too long, otherwise people will make mistakes.
Search calls to action
Another option is to direct people to search for a particular word or phrase online.
Users often prefer to search for navigation purposes online, rather than using the browser bar to type in the web address and go directly to a website.
The fact that major online destinations like Facebook, eBay and Amazon regularly feature in lists of top searched keywords is evidence of this behaviour.
Given that people responding to ads online, it makes sense to take account of this behaviour, and direct users to search for a particular term.
This approach has the added advantage of making the offline campaign more trackable, as brands and advertisers can monitor any spikes in searches for keywords and phrases used in offline advertising.
There are some potential drawbacks to this approach though. Firstly, the use of a unique search keyword or phrase tells competitors about your search strategy, and gives them the opportunity to bid on these terms and hijack traffic driven by the ads.
Make it easy for users to search for the brand or product
Whether you include a URL or a search call to action on the ad or not, it’s likely that many people will respond to ads by searching for the brand or product name online.
This is often the easiest way for users to respond to ads, so brands need to have done their homework so that they are highly visible in the search results pages for these terms.
Facebook landing pages
Another recent trend has been for brands to direct viewers and readers on TV and print ads to a Facebook page.
This is something Ford has been doing in its recent campaign for the new Focus, and visitors arrive at a landing page with videos and information about the car.
This approach can help brands to build a following on the site, as hopefully users will arrive at the Facebook page while logged into their own account.
Then, if they hit the ‘like’ button, the page will also be promoted to that user’s Facebook friends.
Create a unique phrase or character
By using Aleksandr the meerkat, and inviting viewers to search for Compare the Meerkat, the insurance firm managed to create a clear call to action which, given the unique nature of the search phrase, made It easier for them to ensure that the landing page was highly visible in search results.
It was also an excellent way of saving money on paid search. When the campaign was launched in 2009, the cost per click for the word ‘meerkat’ was 5p, compared to £5 for the keyword ‘market’.
This allowed Compare the Market to achieve search visibility in a highly competitive market at a fraction of the normal cost.
The use of QR codes isn’t yet widespread, and mobile users do have to download a code reader application before they can scan them, but this does offer a potentially valuable direct response mechanism.
By showing QR codes in offline ads, brands could send mobile users straight to a dedicated landing page, a video showing the product, or a voucher to be redeemed at their local store.
According to a recent MMA/Lightspeed survey, 31% of UK consumers would be more likely to respond to an ad if there was a mobile response mechanism on offer.
The same survey found that sending a keyword by SMS to a shortcode was the most widely recognised mobile response mechanism.
Getting people to search online after viewing an ad is just the first part of the challenge. Next, they need to be directed to the correct website or landing page, and this is all about having the right search strategy in place.
This is something that should be planned well in advance so that brand and non-brand search terms are in high enough positions to capture the extra search traffic that TV ads will generate.
How hard this is to achieve will depend on the brand and product name. If you have a more generic brand or product name, then creating a unique search phrase or URL may be an alternative strategy.
Ford has managed to get the SEO right, and people searching for the Ford Fiesta currently being advertised on TV shouldn’t have any trouble finding the right page:
The one guaranteed way to top the search engines around the time of TV ad campaigns is buy the related paid search keywords and phrases.
While brands may be worried about spending on paid search straight after a TV advertising campaign, they will often see higher than average conversion rates, which should justify the extra expenditure.
Getting users to respond to ads by searching online is just the first step. To make the most of these leads, an effective landing page is the next step.
Create mobile-friendly landing pages
People are increasing watching TV or reading newspapers while using their mobiles to access the internet, and are increasingly likely to use their phones to respond to ads.
If they do this, only to find a slow-loading page that has not been optimised for mobiles, containing Flash elements and videos that won’t work, then the effort made by the advertiser to get a response has been wasted.
Brands don’t need to ‘dumb down’ landing pages just to cater fro mobile users, they can simply detect the device accessing the page and divert mobile and tablet users to the most suitable version.
Clear link from main homepage to landing page
Brands may have included a URL or a clear search call to action in the ad which leads to a dedicated micro site, but many people will just end up at the brand’s main homepage anyway.
These visitors should be able to see a link to the micro site and images or copy that matches what they have just seen in the offline advertising.
For example, though Ford’s ad campaign for the new Focus invites users to its Facebook page, visitors to its website will immediately see links and information related to the new car and the ad campaign.
Include clear calls to action on landing pages
Whatever the purpose of the landing page is, inviting people to make a purchase, sign up for newsletters, or book a test drive, it should be unmistakably clear to visitors.
Your landing page should include clear calls to action that make the next step you want visitors to take as clear as possible.
Continue the ad experience onto the landing page
If customers have taken the trouble to head to your landing page after seeing the TV or print ad, then it must have been effective.
Continue this effect through to the landing page by using images, language and even video which matches the offline ad and reinforces the message you were aiming for.
In Ford’s landing page for the current Fiesta campaign, visitors can see an annotated version of the TV ad, as well as a wealth of information on the new car:
Add sharing options
If you have created a great TV ad and attracted visitors to your landing page, make it easy for them to share it with others, and extend the reach of your campaign for free.
Add links to allow users to easily share the content with friends via email or social media sites.
Don’t ask too much
If you are asking people to submit their details or sign up for a quote, then make the process as smooth as possible.
Asking for too much information at this stage risks frightening them off and wasting the investment you made getting them there.
Don’t drive people away by asking for anything you don’t actually need.
Provide a range of contact options for visitors
You may have created the perfect landing page, but some people will still not respond, so give them options.
Provide different contact options, including email addresses, contact forms, phone numbers, so they can choose how they would like to contact you.
Here are a few ways you can measure how effective TV ads have been in driving traffic online.
If customers have arrived at your site, you can simply ask which media channel influenced their decision to visit.
However, if you make this a compulsory field during the checkout or registration process, then the answers given may be less reliable.
Monitor brand traffic
A simple measure of the impact of an offline campaign is the traffic driven by your brand keywords.
If a TV advert has encouraged people to think about your brand then you should see more people searching for your brand.
Hybrid traffic combines a brand term with either generic or specific terms.
This could be a combination of brand name and product in the term, or some other feature from the ad. This would show that this search traffic is directly related to the ad.
Some of the best adverts create memorable slogans or catch phrases. If you have optimised for this phrase, and people are responding to the ad, you may well see more traffic based on this.
Many analytic packages allow you to view where in the country traffic has come from. This is ideal if you are running a geographic specific campaign, on regional TV for example.
Paid search clicks
As with brand search terms, you should see a higher click through rate from paid search ads related to the TV campaign.
Conversions / sign ups
The conversions from traffic related to the TV ads, or for the products advertised, should give an idea of the ad’s success.
If you have a URL that is unique to a TV ad campaign, then traffic to this address will be directly attributable to the ad in question.